• synonyms


[kon-too-muh-see, -tyoo-]
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noun, plural con·tu·ma·cies.
  1. stubborn perverseness or rebelliousness; willful and obstinate resistance or disobedience to authority.
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Origin of contumacy

1150–1200; Middle English contumacie < Latin contumācia, equivalent to contumāc-, stem of contumāx unyielding, stubborn (con- con- + -tum- of uncertain sense, though connected by classical authors with both contemnere to regard with contempt and tumēre to swell) + -āx adj. suffix) + -ia -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for contumacy

Historical Examples

  • As they failed to appear they were condemned for contumacy and deposed.

    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe

    James Harvey Robinson

  • If he has proceeded since, I shall hold him accountable for his contumacy.

  • To question his imbecile ideas is to stand in contumacy of the revelation of God.

    The American Credo

    George Jean Nathan

  • He, however, added to his contumacy by surviving until his ninety-second year.

  • But can the king forgive your intercession and Warwick's contumacy?

British Dictionary definitions for contumacy


noun plural -cies
  1. obstinate and wilful rebelliousness or resistance to authority; insubordination; disobedience
  2. the wilful refusal of a person to appear before a court or to comply with a court order
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin contumācia, from contumāx obstinate; related to tumēre to swell, be proud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for contumacy


late 14c., from Latin contumacia "haughtiness, insolence," noun of quality from contumax (see contumely).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper